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Feature StoryTokyo

Starbucks Reserve: Tokyo Roastery

Where it began

The first time I had Starbucks coffee, I was 11 and living in Arizona. My family had gone to Phoenix for the day.  At my mom’s request, we stopped at Starbucks before heading home.

At that age, and really even now, I wanted to do everything my mom did. I think she’s perfect. She must have a reason for everything she does. If she is getting coffee there, so would I.

It was sunset. The sky was turning to that deep orange color that cast a shadow over the mountains in the background. It just seemed perfect.

I couldn’t really tell you the deep significance about our experience there at Starbucks. The memory, though; I remember it vividly. Since then, Starbucks has always just been our thing. Though we are coffee drinkers, we only get it on special occasions.

In my past posts, I told you that my mom traveled to be with me after the study abroad program ended. We spent my last week in Tokyo together. Not surprisingly, she didn’t do a lot of research about things to do here. She wanted it to be a spontaneous trip more than anything.

Oddly enough, after getting back to our hotel room one night, an ad for Starbucks Reserve popped up on my mom’s Facebook feed. It was a video that showed the largest Starbucks stores around the world, including one in the Tokyo metropolitan area (shout out to Facebook’s analytics!).

“We have to go!” my mom said.

Therefore, we planned to end the next night at Starbucks Reserve. We were over by the Shibuya crossing, which by the looks of the map looked like we could just walk. Unfortunately, the walk ended up being 30 minutes, so we caught a cab instead.

Welcome to Tokyo Roastery

My first impression was how huge this place was. Starbucks is an international brand. I knew it was making a lot of money, but this put it in perspective how successful the company really was. The building took the whole corner side of the block, located on the side of the Meguro River.

Even the doors into the establishment were enormous. There should have been a sign warning customers that you must have some type of arm strength to open those doors.

The establishment has an open floor plan that exposes you to the symphony of pipes and copper casks of the roasters. At the main bar, you can order any of the drinks of the day, such as the Cinnamon Shortbread Latte that I ordered.

They had four floors with patios that wrapped around the side of the establishment. From the patio you had a view of the river below and the city in the distance. My mom and I sat outside after getting our drinks and took the time to reflect on being in Tokyo at this massive Starbucks location.

Some people think the Starbucks brand is overhyped, and maybe it is. Despite the known quality of the coffee, for me, it has become a comfort place and taste that takes me back to that sunset in Arizona with my mom. Now, it will also take me back to Tokyo.

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